In re Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation

Case # 10-md-02196
Case Name In re Polyurethane Foam Antitrust Litigation
Jurisdiction US District Court for N.D. OH
Summary

Lawsuit alleges that manufacturers of flexible polyurethane foam products consipired to fix prices for their products, forcing consumers to pay inflated prices and enriching the Defendants.  These polyurethane foam products are commonly used for cushioning and insulation in goods including furniture, bedding, packaging, and flooring.

Final Approval Date ongoing
Result
  1. Final Approval of the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs Class was granted.
  2. Objector Michael Narkin appealed the Final Approval.
    • Discussed below.
  3. The District Court sanctioned Objector Narkin $10,000.
  4. The Indirect Purchaser Plaintiffs settlement, which features numerous serial objectors (including Objector Narkin) is still ongoing.
Dismissal of Last Appeal N/A
Attachments Docket Report.pdf
Corrected Second Amended Class Action Complaint.pdf
Preliminary Approval Order.pdf
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Objection of Michael Narkin

Objectors Michael Narkin
Signers Michael Narkin
Attorneys
Summary

NOTE:  This objection concerns the Direct Purchaser Plaintiffs' settlement with the Leggett & Platt and Carpenter Defendants.

  1. Settlement does not bear any relationship to damages suffered.
  2. Class Counsel is improperly using a protective order to prevent class members from reviewing the discovery files.
  3. Attorneys' fees are excessive.
  4. Settlement does not protect the interests of sub-class members who may have unrelated claims.

NOTE:  These objections are effectively verbatim identical to those filed by Objector Narkin in other cases.

NOTE:  Objector Narkin appealed the Final Approval initially to the Federal Circuit, which had no jurisdiction over the case.  The Federal Circuit transferred the case to the Sixth Circuit.  As is his usual strategy, Objector-Appellant Narkin did not pay the filing fee and attempted to proceed in forma pauperis.

NOTE:  Class Counsel motioned for sanctions against Objector-Appellant Narkin, claiming that his appeal is frivolous.  Class Counsel also alleges that Objector-Appellant Narkin sought a payment to a charity that he is on the board for, in exchange for dropping his appeal (See Reply in Support of DPP Class Motion for Sanctions, Declaration of Adam B. Wolfson, ¶5-8).

NOTE:  It appears that Objector-Appellant Narkin does not even have standing to object, since he purchased his product through CostCo, making him an Indirect Purchaser Plaintiff, NOT a Direct Purchaser Plaintiff.

The District Court had strong words regarding Objector-Appellant Narkin's attempts to proceed in forma pauperis.  His filings show "his objections are meritless because (among other things) they are raised by a person without standing to object to the settlements...Despite being given more than enough opportunities to do so, Narkin provides no other evidence that he is a member of the settlement class...based on the composition of the settlement class it is implausible that other evidence exists...His continued objection SIMPLY WASTES THE TIME OF BOTH THIS COURT AND THE SIXTH CIRCUIT, AS WELL AS COUNSEL OF RECORD, AND NEEDLESSLY DELAYS DISBURSEMENT OF NET SETTLEMENT FUNDS TO ACTUAL CLASS MEMBERS (emphasis added)" (See Order Denying Motion to Appeal In Forma Pauperis, pages 2-3).

The District Court ultimately sanctioned Objector-Appellant Narkin $10,000 for his conduct.  The Court found that "Narkin's conduct has not only burdened Direct Purchasers and this Court with the task of responding to PATENTLY FRIVOLOUS FILINGS; settlement funds of $147 million, the product of four years of hard-fought litigation, have hung in limbo for more than eight months BECAUSE A PERSON WHO KNOWS HE HAS NO RIGHT TO OBJECT TO THE SETTLEMENTS NONETHELESS REFUSES TO WITHDRAW HIS MERITLESS OBJECTION.  As a result, not a single class member has received a penny under either settlement; not a single attorney has been compensated under this Court's fee award...and Leggett&Platt and the Carpenter Defendants have not received the finality sought when they paid millions under the settlement agreements...Narkin shows a BLATANT DISREGARD OF THE RULINGS OF OTHER DISTRICT COURTS by filing the same boiler-plate, form objection in this case that he filed in other cases (citation ommitted).  That form objection has been rejected by every court in which it has been filed, but that did not stop Narkin from filing the same form objection A SECOND TIME IN THIS CASE." (See Order for Sanctions, pages 9-10).

Attachments Preliminary Approval Order (DPP Class).pdf
Objection of Michael Narkin (DPP Class).pdf
DPP Response to Objections.pdf
Final Approval Order (DPP Class).pdf
Appeal of Objector Narkin (DPP Class).pdf
Motion to Appeal In Forma Pauperis by Objector-Appellant Narkin (DPP Class).pdf
Order Denying Motion to Appeal In Forma Pauperis by Objector-Appellant Narkin (DPP Class).pdf
DPP Class Motion for Sanctions Against Objector Narkin.pdf
Narkin Response to DPP Class Motion for Sanctions Against Objector Narkin.pdf
Reply in Support of DPP Class Motion for Sanctions Against Objector Narkin.pdf
Narkin Reply in Support of Standing to Object to DPP Class.pdf
Narkin Objection to DPP Class Attorneys' Fees.pdf
Response to Narkin Objection to DPP Class Attorneys' Fees.pdf
Narkin Appeal Docket (Federal Circuit).pdf
Narkin Appeal Docket (Sixth Circuit).pdf
Order for Sanctions Against Objector-Appellant Narkin.pdf
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Objection of Jill K. Cannata

Objectors Jill K. Cannata
Signers Jill K. Cannata
Attorneys Sam P. Cannata
Summary
  1. Attorneys' fees are excessive.
Attachments Objection of Jill Cannata.pdf
Cannata Appearance for Objector Cannata.pdf
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Objection of Christopher Andrews

Objectors Christopher Andrews
Signers Christopher Andrews
Attorneys
Summary
  1. Notice is deficient.
    • Does not provide sufficient information on the availability of court documents.
    • Does not disclose total damages suffered by the class.
    • Does not disclose the minimum check that will be sent to class members.
  2. Cy pres recipients are not disclosed.
  3. Opt out procedures are overly burdensome.
  4. Claim form is confusing and requires potentially sensitive information.
  5. Class members need the ability to challenge rejected claims.
  6. Installment payments by Defendants.
  7. Expenses are not broken down for class members to review.
  8. Incentive awards are excessive.
  9. Administration costs and incentive awards are improperly considered class benefits.
  10. Attorneys' fees are excessive.
  11. Total settlement value is improperly calculated.
Attachments Objection of Christopher Andrews.pdf
Supplement to Objection of Christopher Andrews.pdf
Second Supplement to Objection of Christopher Andrews.pdf
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Objection of Sean Cochran

Objectors Sean Cochran
Signers Edward W. Cochran
Attorneys Edward W. Cochran
Summary
  1. Settlement funds should be distributed pro rata to class members, instead of cy pres recipients.
  2. Attorneys' fees constitute an excessive portion of the settlement fund.
  3. Class counsel needs to make more information available on individuals whose time was billed to the case.
Attachments Objection of Sean Cochran.pdf
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Objection of Jennifer Deachin n/k/a Jennifer Hinjosa

Objectors Jennifer Deachin n/k/a Jennifer Hinjosa
Signers Jennifer Deachin n/k/a Jennifer Hinjosa
Attorneys
Summary
  1. Attorneys' fees are excessive.
  2. Class representative incentive awards are excessive.
Attachments Objection of Jennifer Hinojosa.pdf
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Objection of Patrick Sweeney

Objectors Patrick Sweeney
Signers Patrick Sweeney
Attorneys
Summary
  1. Claims administration does not have adequate oversight.
  2. No definitive time frame exists for claims administration, so class members do not know when payment would be received.
  3. A portion of the attorneys' fees should be withheld to ensure Class Counsel provides adequate oversight.
  4. Attorneys' fees are excessive and improperly calculated.
Attachments Objection of Patrick Sweeney.pdf
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Objection of Michael Narkin

Objectors Michael Narkin
Signers Michael Narkin
Attorneys
Summary
  1. Settlement does not bear any relationship to damages suffered.
  2. Class Counsel is improperly using a protective order to prevent class members from reviewing the discovery files.
  3. Attorneys' fees are excessive.
  4. Settlement does not protect the interests of sub-class members who may have unrelated claims.

NOTE:  This objection is identical to the objection Mr. Narkin filed in the DPP class discussed at length above.

Attachments Objection of Michael Narkin.pdf
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Objection of Kelly Marie Spann

Objectors Kelly Marie Spann
Signers
Attorneys Jonathan E. Fortman
Summary

NOTE:  Attorney Fortman has filed an appearance on behalf of this objector but no objection has been docketed.

Attachments Fortman Appearance for Objector Spann.pdf
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Objection of Melissa Holyoak, John Tabin

Objectors Melissa Holyoak
John Tabin
Signers Anna St. John
Attorneys Anna St. John
Summary
  1. Attorneys' fees are excessive, both under a percentage and a lodestar calculation.
    • Lodestar was intentionally inflated.
  2. Attorneys' fees are paid immediately, while class members may have to wait years to receive their payments.
  3. Notice is defective.
    • Does not provide sufficient information on cy pres recipients.
    • Does not provide sufficient information on the disbursement of settlement funds between class members and attorneys.
Attachments Objection of Melissa Holyoak and John Tabin.pdf
St. John Appearance for Objector Holyoak.pdf
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